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Among the shadows of darkened minds lies Vortech! - 95%

silenceharmsyourears, December 18th, 2008

The Music/Musicianship

This is the first album that I heard by this band, and the first song that I ever heard of the band ever was the title track "The Core". At first I heard a strange synth brewing and I was concerned it would be another poser industrial band with weak sound and weaker concept, but I was kept interested by the overdubbed shredding guitar, then the song kicked off! Awesome drum fills led into brutal blasting and blackened aggressive vocals which sounded very powerful and fairly original, no weakness detected. The synth faded into the distance, twisting in amongst incredible riffs as the track carried into the amazing chorus with insane double bass blasting my sub woofer to death. I knew there and then that this was an amazing band I just found, and no 1 hit wonder.

Track after track the album owns as this band pounds you with shredding futuristic metal riffs wrapped around extreme drumming and soaring spacey synths. The first 4 tracks flow well and stand out as the best overall, but my favourite track is the final song 09 "Radiant Storm" before the ambient outro track. This track is truly awesome. It starts with an awe-inspiring space-like creeping synth fading in softly before the harsh blackened guitars and double bass kick in as the synth continues and soars in the background. The entire track is awesome. The lyrics of this band are also brilliant and really describe the story well, setting the mood perfect. Having crushing music on top of amazing otherworldly synths must be hard to-do right, but these guys do it, totally epic! Each track is original and distinguishable and never gets boring either. The entire album flows well overall and the music is catchy and often technical without descending into tasteless wankery. The music could be described as industrial extreme metal. The music sounds similar to modern progressive metal bands like: Strapping Young Lad, The Amenta, and Fear Factory, with the grindcore-esq drumbeats of bands like Nasum.


The Production/Sound

Something that immediately stands out when you first hear this band is that not only is the music great, the production is also! The production is better than the stuff put out by most pro studio bands! A very professional high quality and futuristic sound, similar to something like Fear Factory. If you do a little research on their site they have full explanations of gear and it becomes apparent fast that they are probies - they have lots of expensive gear and they obviously know how to use it properly! The production owns, I cannot fault it really, the guitar is heavy as shit and the drums sound great, the vocals are strong and powerful brutal shouts and suit it perfectly, shame that Juhas vocoder-whispers never made a comeback though. The bass is clear, heavy and, everything works great! But I am fussy so, I would say the only thing that could have been mixed a little better in places perhaps are the synths, and maybe the guitars a little louder, but nothing to complain about. Perhaps the production is a little too clean. I'd like to hear a slightly dirtier and darker sound sometime; I think it would suit their more extreme songs. A definite improvement of their debuts more muffled and drum-heavy sound.


Overall

Great album, big improvement. There is nothing really negative about this album; nothing to complain about, but there is room for improvement still. Similar to last time, the arrangement and composition are what let this album down and stopped it reaching a higher score.

1) Arrangement: The album loses a little pace and focus halfway in my view on track 5 & 6. These tracks are good, but they seem to disrupt the flow of the album to me. They have some great riffs in them and they start out extremely brutal, great as standalone, but personally I think it distracts from the rest of the album as a continuous concept piece. These tracks have very cool spacey riffs in them for the chorus and such; perhaps they could have been arranged differently so as to flow better within the album itself. Like before, you are left with the impression of an EP being stretched to make a full-length.

2) Ambient/Instrumentals tracks: The instrumental only tracks (7 and 10) are too minimalist and seem a little pointless. They are a seemingly random collection of bleeps and clicks with a background synth. These pieces do set the mood of the wasteland - they are very good in that respect, but ultimately they are just extra long, abstract, minimalist synth clicks and beeps. I don't get any enjoyment listening to that for 5 mins straight. It would be more interesting to have some musical structure there – an ambient electro song rather than just beeps, something memorable you can listen to as its own song and enjoy, like End Game from the previous album, but hopefully not drum and bass next time.


Overall, excellent 9/10! If you like metal and / or futuristic stuff, go check this killer band out / buy the album now!